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18+ Language

Keep Smiling- Prologue

by brotherGeo


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language.

The murmur of the relatively tame crowd filled the comedy club, with the exception of a loud belly laugh every now and again. Cigarette smoke clung to the walls like a toxic cloud and the smell of alcohol lingered on almost everyone’s breath, Including Richard. He sat in a corner alone awaiting his friend’s arrival. The carpet was soiled and the booth he was sitting in had most likely never been cleaned. He looked around seeing other groups of people clumping together, all having their own little conversations.

Feeling self-conscious he focused on his drink, a stale bitter brew with no interesting qualities or flavours, the only reason he drank such a thing at all was because there was nothing else. He stared at the HRRC branding on the bottle, it had been a while since he had seen anything other than their products. Sighing impatiently he began combing at his brown hair with his fingernails, disgusted with the amount of dandruff and grime that coated his hand. I should really buy some better shampoo.

His thoughts were broken by the sound of someone talking through the speakers. The stage was the only source of light in the room, spotlights beamed down onto a stool and the silhouettes of people’s heads could be seen staring up at the woman now on stage.

Someone rapped their knuckles on the table grabbing Richard’s attention. It was Murali, he was still in his work clothes, a simple office worker’s garb. He was tall for an Indian and had darker skin then most, he was often mistaken for an African. His short curly black hair always annoyed Richard who wanted him to grow an afro. He grinned the whites of his deep brown eyes clearly visible in the dark room.

“Hey Rich.” He said in his funny Indian - Australian accent.

“You sure took your sweet time getting here.” Richard responded starkly.

“Come off it, I got busy.”

“Ha, Li the slacker busy? You’re joking right?” the two friends grinned at each other. Pulling out a pack of smokes Murali sat across the booth and glanced over at the stage.

“Anyone good?” he asked while lighting his cigarette.

“Dunno, haven’t been listening.” Richard responded eyeing the stage and seeing some other nameless person telling jokes and ‘funny’ stories about… something or rather.

“Then what’s the point of coming here then?” Offering a cigarette to Richard, he suddenly shushed his friend with a slight wave and raised an eyebrow to one of the jokes being told, he paused for a second to let it resonate in his mind, He chuckled to himself as the deeper meaning of the joke sunk in.

“What was it?”

“You shoulda listened dumbass, the entire reason for places like these to exist,” he flailed his arm around gesticulating to the comedy club. “Is to listen and to laugh at jokes. Now answer my question.”

“Looks good on my record.” Richard answered nonchalantly, swirling the now flat beer around in the bottle, “and the piss is cheap.”

His friend sighed and began muttering something about just going to a bar instead. This didn’t bother Richard his attention was focused elsewhere, a man in a heavy looking black overcoat with a fancy looking ensign hanging off his lapel sat across the room. He wouldn’t of noticed the man if it wasn’t for the distinct glow of a radio transceiver lighting up a section of his face.

“What’s up?” Murali finally asked noticing his friend’s behaviour.

“There’s a Commissar here.” He said in a half whisper.

Murali let in a sharp intake of breath, “Fuck, are you serious.” Stooping to make himself smaller, he tried to see where Richard’s gaze was focused but saw nothing.

“Relax Li, he’s probably checking the comedians are up to standard.”

“Damn vultures.” Murali cursed under his breath, “won’t even let us have our jokes now. No suicide, depression or ‘Big one’ jokes. Hell most morbid jokes are taboo as well”

“Shut up! There is a commissar literally a few metres away. Are you trying to get detained?” Richard hissed through his teeth. Murali stared at his friend absently, he gesticulated his annoyance and slumped back in his chair.

“Bah, ‘Anything for Humanity™’ my ass.” He whispered

“He could just be here to take a load off, like us.” Richard offered.

“Why jump to their defence huh?” He moved so his face was centimetres away from his friend’s face, as if doing so would reveal all untold secrets.

“Whoa back up mate.” He said pushing Murali back by a few inches.

“How was the enthusiasm enrichment, Richard?” he chuckled softly, correcting himself. “Or should I say brainwashing.”

“Fuck off cunt, I’m not brainwashed. I’m just warning you to watch your tongue.” He spat too tired to deal with his friend’s mirth.

Stunned at his friend’s quick retort, Murali sat back down to brood. Breaking the silence that had ensued Richard suggested that they get more drinks, an idea they could both agree on.

“So you gotten that promotion yet.” Murali queried already forgetting his friend’s prior outburst.

“Nah, man still on the factory floor.”

Murali Grimaced at this, he nodded to his friend. “Gotta splurge?”

Richard hummed in response, “I got…” he checked his watch, “six more hours until ‘the taxing’. Its fine I don’t have too much saved up anyway.”

Murali opened his mouth to speak but the sound of the crowd chittering like bats cut him off. Something was happening. Everyone stared at the man on stage, he was a tall lanky man and he stood their sweating. “Oh… tough crowd, huh” he laughed weakly, from the corner of Richards eye he saw the commissar stand and make their way to the stage. He wasn’t the only one who saw the comedian turned on his heel and bolted for backstage. He disappeared from sight briefly, only to be flung back onto stage and pinned down by security. He was yelling but Richard couldn’t hear, like everyone else in the room he was covering his ears as much as he could. He watched the Commissar drag him away, it left a bad taste in his mouth.

He felt someone grab by the wrist and drag him to the exit, it was Murali. As they stepped outside a wave of cool air flowed over them.

“What happened?” Richard asked,

“No clue, said something blacklisted probably.” Murali looked right then left and started off into the night, “Get going before this place gets flooded with Public Security, until tomorrow Rich.” He walked off at a quick pace flicking his cigarette over his shoulder. Richard turned and started the march back to his apartment, so much for a quiet drink. The sound of distant sirens echoed through the empty streets as HRR public security forces rushed to the scene.

/ / / / /

Author's notes: Don't know how this will go, I'm busy enough as it is but If people like it i will invest more time in this novel.


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Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:26 pm
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi....I finally got around to reading this one. I've been meaning to take a look at this for a while.

First Impression: This sounds like a pretty fun little entrance. There's quite a bit of interesting worldbuilding here and it is done pretty well. A bit of excitement at the end does a pretty good job of hooking the readers so that's also great.

Anyway let's get right to it,

The murmur of the relatively tame crowd filled the comedy club, with the exception of a loud belly laugh every now and again. Cigarette smoke clung to the walls like a toxic cloud and the smell of alcohol lingered on almost everyone’s breath, Including Richard. He sat in a corner alone awaiting his friend’s arrival. The carpet was soiled and the booth he was sitting in had most likely never been cleaned. He looked around seeing other groups of people clumping together, all having their own little conversations.


This is a really nice description there to start things off. Sets the setting very well for the story to unfold.

Sighing impatiently he began combing at his brown hair with his fingernails, disgusted with the amount of dandruff and grime that coated his hand. I should really buy some better shampoo.


If you have grime all over your hair you can't be blaming that on your shampoo.

“You shoulda listened dumbass, the entire reason for places like these to exist,” he flailed his arm around gesticulating to the comedy club. “Is to listen and to laugh at jokes. Now answer my question.”


Well that was kinda rude for him to ignore his friend and listen to the joke.

“Relax Li, he’s probably checking the comedians are up to standard.”

“Damn vultures.” Murali cursed under his breath, “won’t even let us have our jokes now. No suicide, depression or ‘Big one’ jokes. Hell most morbid jokes are taboo as well”


Very interesting and very subtle worldbuilding there. I love the way that was done.

Richard hummed in response, “I got…” he checked his watch, “six more hours until ‘the taxing’. Its fine I don’t have too much saved up anyway.”


More neat worldbuilding. Nice.

“No clue, said something blacklisted probably.” Murali looked right then left and started off into the night, “Get going before this place gets flooded with Public Security, until tomorrow Rich.” He walked off at a quick pace flicking his cigarette over his shoulder. Richard turned and started the march back to his apartment, so much for a quiet drink. The sound of distant sirens echoed through the empty streets as HRR public security forces rushed to the scene.


Author's notes: Don't know how this will go, I'm busy enough as it is but If people like it i will invest more time in this novel.


I love this idea so far. Definitely tag me when you post more of this.

Aaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Like I said this is a pretty well done opening chapter. It flowed really well and the pacing of it was great up until the last little shock almost. Overall done really well and I don't think I actually managed to spot any mistakes.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




brotherGeo says...


Thanks for the review Harry!



HarryHardy says...


Your Welcome!!!



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Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:55 pm
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deleted18 wrote a review...



Greetings, dear author!

Let me begin this review by saying that I thoroughly enjoy this concept you're going for. It is very reminiscent of the game 'We Happy Few' in its theme (as well as all other dystopian novels, particularly MaddAddam), as well as its portrayal. I could sense some 'cancel culture' commentary there as well, especially during the final scene where the comedian gets blacklisted for a 'bad word.'

Another strong point of yours that I'd like to commend is the dialogues. Most writers struggle with writing organic, non-robotic lines (myself included), but you have wonderfully managed to portray how two office-workers would most likely talk to each other.

However, I have something to criticise too, namely repetitive sentence structure. Following the typical 'Subject-Predicate' is fine, but it can lead to the reading being monotonous and the style being regarded as stale. Adding a heterodiegetic, omniscient and distantly objective narrator cripples your choices even more. Thankfully, it doesn't happen all that often, but I'd suggest adding a little more dynamic into your paragraphs. Start off with conjuctions, flip the focus on the object rather than the subject, alternate the focus of the sentence, go wild.

Minor grammar mistakes were spotted, but I'm sure a thorough reread will serve to erase those. Mind your 'have' in perfect tenses, it's 've' not of.'

Lastly, and this is an overall opinion, I feel like the chapter is lacking content. Yes, characters were introduced, yes some plot points were revealed, but the ending is just abrupt and the overall information is just not enough to get by. I might be speaking out of my lack of experience with modern-form literature, but I believe a first chapter presents at least a core value of the main character, or the central theme or anything resembling an introduction. This chapter, however, feels more like a vignette, a well-written one, but not more than that. Even though it might be an uneducated opinion, I'd advise you to at least consider furthering the story a bit at least in the first chapter.

I hope this doesn't come across as too sharp or harsh, and I wish you the best of luck in your writing endeavours. I enjoyed the writing thoroughly, so I believe I'll keep an eye on further chapters. Please delight me :)




brotherGeo says...


Thanks for the review! It was very helpful, I'll make sure I do what i can to improve. Thanks again :)



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Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:40 am
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Potatomatopoeia wrote a review...



This looks really interesting. It's my first review so I'm not sure what kind of comments you'd find helpful, but I did notice some slight punctuation errors here and there (sorry, English teacher habits :) Still, the premise you've set has piqued my interest and I'm definitely curious to see where this could go!





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